Here’s a long post. Half of it is useful, I hope, as it describes a recipe I particularly like. The other half however, deals with a more random subject: an “Honor Scrap” meme that was recently given to me.
Okay, first to the recipes.
Curry Soup with Wilted Spinach
I don’t like the “wilted” in the name of the recipe, and don't understand why it's called a curry when no curry is called for, but that’s the way it was published in my old and beautifully food-encrusted Sunset Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. This is without a doubt my favorite vegetable soup. The flavors are extraordinary, with the broth coming close to the sweet-sour varieties one comes across in SE Asia, and it's really light and refreshing. And yet, with the inclusion of boiled spinach it can easily serve as a meal, particularly if you have some good, thick bread, and perhaps some balsamic vinegar and olive oil, to pair with it. The recipe also mentions that cooked brown rice goes well in the soup if you’re looking to make it heartier. Finally, this soup is just flat-out healthy. I try to make this twice a week if possible, just to have on hand. A small bowl makes a great mid-afternoon snack, and it goes well as a side dish for most dinners, too.
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 medium-size tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, ground coriander, and ground turmeric
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
2 14 oz cans vegetable broth (or 1 qt homemade)
1 pound spinach (stems removed)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Half a bunch of cilantro
Chopped roasted peanuts, cashew nuts, or pistachio nuts (optional)
1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until onion is lightly browned (5-7 minutes).
2. Stir in tomato, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomato is soft (about 8 minutes). Blend in vegetable broth.
3. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue to boil until reduced to 3 cups. (I don’t wait that long.) Meanwhile, rinse spinach and, with moisture still clinging to its leaves, place in a medium- to large-sized pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until leaves are wilted (4-5 minutes). Transfer spinach to a colander and press down on it to extract as much liquid as possible.
4. Spoon spinach into soup bowls. Stir lemon juice and cilantro into hot broth. Ladle broth into bowls. Garnish with peanuts. Delicious both hot or cold.
It looks like I was honored with an “Honest Scrap” meme. I don’t really know what it is, but I understand that I’m supposed to: 1) choose a minimum of seven blogs that I find brilliant in content or design, 2) list the blogs’ names and links and notify the recipients that they’ve been given this “award,” 3) list at least ten “honest things” about myself.
To be perfectly honest, I usually don’t go in for these kinds of things as they feel a little like chain letters, but I do feel honored that Anna at Chef Wanabe, a blog that I’ve admired and visited regularly for some time, thought highly enough about my own blog to bestow this on me. So here goes.
First, my list of seven blogs:
For any of these seven, I hope I haven’t passed this on to you for the umpteenth time, or that you’re opposed to memes. If I have, or if you are, no worries; even if you pass on it, know that I enjoy your blogs enough to want to introduce them to the wider public and honor them in this small way!
Okay, now for the ten things that I decided to reveal about myself (coming up with these is harder than it sounds):
1. As a kid, I ate virtually nothing but hamburgers, Steak-Ums, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I’m not sure how I survived, but I never eat those things now.
2. Starting in college, I became vegetarian for eight or nine years. I was forced to take a break for five months while studying in Japan and living with a host-family, and then gave it up after my second long stint in Vietnam.
3. My vegetarianism started after reading only 70 pages of Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation.” I still have the book on my shelf, but I haven’t finished it because I’m afraid of turning vegetarian for another decade of my life if I do.
4. During my first meal with my Japanese host-family, I was fed the worst meal a vegetarian could possibly eat: beef served nearly raw. I managed to get through the meal by hiding mouthfuls of the very chewy meat in my napkin and flushing it down the toilet mid- and post-meal.
5. Back in high school, I was voted “sexiest legs” during my senior year. There’s no doubt in my mind that if a new vote could be called I wouldn’t even rank.
6. As a kid, I used to have contests with myself to see how many grapes I could fit inside my mouth without choking or my mom finding out or having them all spill out like a slit bag of marbles. I think I managed 40-something.
7. Now that I wrote that, I really want to see how many grapes I can fit into my adult-sized mouth.
8. The first time I ever “drove” a car was at the age of 14. My dad threw me the keys from the garage to pull it forward from beneath my driveway basketball hoop. Not realizing that the car would actually move forward after pulling the automatic handle into “D,” I panicked and proceeded to press my foot on the accelerator rather than the brake and hung a right into a stone wall just a few feet before running over my dad.
9. The second time I ever drove a car was at the age of 15. I persuaded my older brother to write a sick note for me so I could skip school in the afternoon, and then convinced him to let me drive home. Unfortunately, when forced to wait at the only stoplight between school and home I found myself facing my mother and grandmother from across the intersection. She followed us home, called my dad, and my brother and I were grounded for something like half a year. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 17. Then I promptly got the only two speeding tickets I’ve ever gotten in my life.
10. I’ve gotten into the habit of talking to my pet molly fish. I haven’t given it a name, but it gets excited like a dog when I look at it through the glass and call it “Little Buddy.”